STERLING DRIVE BY BARGWANNA SPOILED AT SANDOWN A stunning drive by Jason Bargwanna has been spoiled by mechanical problems for WPS/WOW Racing in the Just Car Insurance 500 at Sandown International Raceway in Melbourne, Victoria today. Both...
STERLING DRIVE BY BARGWANNA SPOILED AT SANDOWN
A stunning drive by Jason Bargwanna has been spoiled by mechanical problems for WPS/WOW Racing in the Just Car Insurance 500 at Sandown International Raceway in Melbourne, Victoria today.
Both the team's cars failed to finish today's race, dropping Bargwanna to 27th in the V8 Supercar Championship standings and his team-mate Max Wilson to 21st in the points.
Bargwanna started from 21st on the grid in the #10 WPS Racing Falcon and turned in a charging drive to steer his way into a top 10 position by his first pit stop.
WPS/WOW Racing decided to 'double stint' Bargwanna, the former Bathurst winner driving over 100 laps before handing over to co-driver Grant Denyer.
Before the driver change, Bargwanna had showed great car speed, passing cars and running as one of the quickest and most consistent cars in the top 10, in seventh position when the second round of pit stops began.
But it was not to be for Bargwanna and Denyer, with the car's engine developing a misfire and dropping to seven cylinders only a couple of laps into Denyer's stint.
Denyer persevered until lap 127, when the team eventually decided to retire the car as the underpowered machine had dropped out of points scoring contention.
It was a similar story for the #8 WOW Racing Falcon, which made its race debut today at Sandown.
Wilson started from 12th on the grid but contact in the opening laps damaged the rear guard. Eventually the damage saw the right rear tyre blow and unfortunately for Wilson it blew on the main straight, forcing Wilson to drive a full lap of the 3.1-kilometre circuit at slow speed.
The incident dropped the WOW Falcon off the lead lap, but that still did not prevent Wilson from proving the speed of the new machine, pulling away from race leader Mark Winterbottom to ensure he did not fall a further lap down and put the field on notice that his new mount has sizable potential.
The #8 WOW Racing Falcon eventually retired on lap 134 when in the hands of co-driver Michael Caruso the gearbox temperatures sky rocketed, leading the team to retire the car as it too was out of contention for a points scoring finish.
Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes won today's Just Car Insurance 500 ahead of Rick Kelly and Paul Radisich and the #6 Falcon of Steven Richards and Owen Kelly.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY ...
Jason Bargwanna -- #10 WPS Racing Falcon
"We had a really good car today but did not get the result we deserved," said Bargwanna.
"I just wish it was a 100-lap race and not 161 laps, because we were right up there with the best cars in the field while running in the top 10.
"We were running with some of the HRT and HSV Commodores and had a really good handle on the car. We found a good set-up for the race and had it all pointed towards a strong finish.
"It's really disappointing to have this race end this way but we can take some confidence into Bathurst having shown this speed here today."
Grant Denyer -- #10 WPS Racing Falcon
"After about two or so laps the pace of the engine dropped off and unfortunately it cost us a top 10 result," said Denyer.
"The car was terrifically balanced and Bargs and car 10 engineer Daniel Kroehn did an outstanding job setting it up.
"Considering the depth of this field it was an excellent piece of work by Bargs to get right up into the top 10 like that.
"He drove a superb race and handed it over to me for the 'glory shift' because he had done all the hard work and I only had to keep it there.
"Unfortunately we never got the chance to bring it home and I guess it just wasn't meant to be. But I have to admit that after jumping in a car that was running in the lead pack today I am really, really pumped for Bathurst."
Max Wilson -- #8 WOW Racing Falcon
"I think a little bit of contact in the opening laps pushed the guard onto the wheel and once we got the puncture on the front straight I knew it was going to be tough because we had to do a full lap to get back around to the pits," said Wilson.
"Once we went a lap down that was pretty much it for our race.
"We showed what we are capable of when we pulled away from the leaders. I'm still definitely excited about the potential of the new car and I think there is a lot of progress in it for us.
"Now we can look to Bathurst knowing a lot more about this new car and see what we can achieve there."
Michael Caruso -- #8 WOW Racing Falcon
"It was really bad luck that Max got that puncture on the section of the track that he did and so early on in the race," said Caruso.
"Once you are a lap down it's really tough but Max showed what the new car is capable of and kept charging on.
"We didn't get to finish the race because of the gearbox temperatures getting very high, but I think that the potential Max showed here is something we can focus on building upon for Bathurst."
Craig Gore -- WPS/WOW Racing Team Owner
"This race looked quite good for us early on but turned into a real day to forget," said Gore.
"Bargs did a great job to get as high as he did and he and his crew did a sensational job getting the WPS car to work so well in the race.
"Our new car showed some great speed this weekend but the race was a shocker. Once we were a lap down it was tough and in the end it was disappointing to get neither car home to the finish.
"One thing that we can say about this weekend is that the crew all deserve a pat on the back because they did a great job and I can't thank them enough for their efforts. Bathurst is now firmly in our sights."